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Old 05-27-2015, 02:26 PM   #7
AmigoKumeyaay
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https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...tive-americans

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are the Federal agency with the primary responsibility for managing migratory birds. Our authority is based on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), which implements conventions with Great Britain (for Canada), Mexico, Japan, and the Soviet Union (Russia). Activities with migratory birds are prohibited unless specifically authorized by regulation. Regulations governing the issuance of permits for migratory bird use are authorized by the MBTA and are found in title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, parts 10, 13, 21, and 22. According to 50 CFR 21.11, permits are required for most actions involving “any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such bird.”

The MBTA contains no express provisions regarding the religious/spiritual use of migratory bird feathers. However, we recognize the significance of the parts and feathers to Native American religious/spiritual practices under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 U.S.C. 1996; AIRFA), a policy statement issued by Secretary of the Interior C.B. Morton in 1975, and our 1994 Native American Policy.

The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA), passed in 1978, clarifies U.S. policy pertaining to the protection of Native American religious freedom. AIRFA acknowledges prior infringement on the right of freedom of religion for Native Americans and clearly states that laws passed for other purposes are not meant to restrict the rights of Native Americans.


The Morton policy statement provides Native Americans protection from Federal prosecution, harassment, or other interference for their possession, transport, use, donation, exchange, or loan of the feathers of federally protected species without compensation.

The Morton policy statement also protects Native Americans who wish to possess bird parts and/or feathers to be worked on by tribal craftsmen for eventual use in religious/spiritual activities and allows the transfer of parts and/or feathers to tribal craftsmen without charge.

Our 1994 Native American Policy states that we must expedite processing and distribution of animal parts to Native Americans. Between 1990 and 2000, our National Eagle Repository distributed eagle parts and feathers to enrolled tribal members. Regulations governing permits for use of eagle parts and feathers are in 50 CFR Part 22. The Repository also distributed migratory bird parts and feathers from birds other than eagles to enrolled tribes.

We conducted this distribution on an ad-hoc basis under the authority of 50 CFR 21.27, Special Purpose Permits, with no criteria or conditions specific to Native American religious or spiritual use. In 1999, we temporarily suspended distribution of non-eagle feathers, due to administrative resource constraints. We now intend to prepare an environmental assessment for a possible proposed regulation for the legal acquisition by Native Americans of non-eagle feathers for religious/spiritual use.
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